In 2013, 71 Million People Watched Online Computer Gameplay

Last year, more than 71 million people worldwide watched other people play computer games, according to a report from games research company SuperData. More than half of those people were in the United States and one in five American gamers either watch or participate in eSports, or organized video game competitions. At the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship last year, 32 million people watched the professional gamers battle it out. Continue reading In 2013, 71 Million People Watched Online Computer Gameplay

NAB: USC’s Elizabeth Daley Speaks at Tech Summit on Cinema

The ongoing effort to utilize new technologies in the service of storytelling was the theme of USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) Dean Elizabeth Daley’s keynote address Sunday at the SMPTE Technology Summit on Cinema at NAB. Digital technology is deeply engrained throughout the SCA curriculum. In fact, the Interactive Media & Games Division and the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts wouldn’t exist without it. Yet “everything has changed, and nothing has changed. Great storytelling is still key,” Daley said. Continue reading NAB: USC’s Elizabeth Daley Speaks at Tech Summit on Cinema

New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

The recently released FireChat mobile app stands out from competitors as the only messaging app that can be used without cell phone reception. FireChat makes use of Apple’s multipeer connectivity introduced in iOS 7, which enables phones to connect with each other directly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. FireChat users within 100 feet of one another can exchange messages without sending data through a cellular provider. A future of similar apps not reliant upon the Internet could open new possibilities and address privacy concerns. Continue reading New Software Lets Chat Apps Connect Phones Without Internet

Chris Cookson Speaks at NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema

“It’s all about the story” was the message of Chris Cookson’s keynote address, and a recurring theme throughout the first day of the NAB Show’s Technology Summit On Cinema: The Future of Motion Imaging and Sound (TSC), produced in partnership with SMPTE. The essence of cinema is storytelling, he said. Cinema is the canvas for storytellers to convey their ideas to the audience. Throughout his talk, Cookson used cinema in the broadest sense, to include content viewed in theaters, on TVs, and on laptops, tablets and phones. Continue reading Chris Cookson Speaks at NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema

Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Amazon’s new Fire TV will serve as a game console in addition to streaming movies and TV shows. To help distinguish itself from industry giants such as Xbox One or PlayStation 4, Amazon plans to develop some of its own Android games. While Amazon Game Studios has not released a full list, sci-fi shooter “Sev Zero” has the potential to be the most popular. Amazon recently acquired Double Helix Games, the company that made the Xbox One launch title “Killer Instinct.” Continue reading Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Amazon announced its new video streaming device called Amazon Fire TV that intends to take on products such as Roku and Apple TV. During a presentation this morning, Amazon’s Peter Larsen suggested that Amazon’s new hardware will address areas in which competing devices struggle including search, performance, and a closed ecosystem. The $99 Fire TV features a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. Larsen claims it provides speeds three times faster than the latest Roku and Apple boxes. Continue reading Fire TV: Amazon Unveils its $99 STB-Game Console Hybrid

Deloitte: Digital Omnivores Crave More Content Across Devices

Digital omnivore is a term that refers to consumers who own a trio of CE devices — specifically tablets, smartphones and laptops. Deloitte’s eighth “Digital Democracy Survey” found that over 37 percent of U.S. consumers are now digital omnivores, a 42 percent increase over the previous year. The growth is driven by a 33 percent increase in tablet adoption and an 18 percent increase in smartphone ownership. Women currently account for 45 percent of the digital omnivores group. Continue reading Deloitte: Digital Omnivores Crave More Content Across Devices

Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey Answers Angry Gamers on Reddit

Oculus Rift, the virtual technology headset created by 21-year old Palmer Luckey, has developed quite a loyal fan base in a short amount of time. When Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion this week, gamers and developers responded with mixed reviews, many disappointed and critical of the move. Luckey responded on Reddit by explaining that he was also skeptical of a Facebook deal at first, but now believes the social giant could help bring virtual reality to the masses. Continue reading Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey Answers Angry Gamers on Reddit

Facebook Plans to Purchase VR Startup Oculus for $2 Billion

In a surprise announcement yesterday, Facebook revealed its plans to acquire Oculus VR, maker of the virtual reality Oculus Rift headset. Reaction to the $2 billion agreement has ranged from excitement on Wall Street — to bewilderment by those questioning the accuracy of the news — to anger by some early supporters who pledged funds to the startup via its Kickstarter campaign. Others reportedly disappointed in the news include developers who purchased early prototypes of the Oculus Rift hoping to become the first to create games. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Purchase VR Startup Oculus for $2 Billion

Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Apple is in talks with Comcast about joining forces on a streaming-television service, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports the service “would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.” While discussions are in the early stages and a number of hurdles remain, the deal “would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing.” Continue reading Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony has plans to offer original series through its PlayStation gaming console, in an effort to expand its media offerings beyond video games. The move is separate from the company’s planned online pay TV service, and part of a larger push to broaden the appeal of the device in the living room. PlayStation users already have access to streaming services and digital downloads of TV shows and movies. The first original will be a one-hour supernatural drama series called “Powers,” produced by Sony Pictures Television. Continue reading Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

Starting next week, the country’s largest retailer Walmart will allow customers to trade in used video games for store credit to spend on other products in more than 3,100 Walmart stores nationwide. The plan is an expansion of Walmart’s program that provides customers with credit for used tablets and smartphones that can be used toward new devices. The plan also represents a potential threat to game retailer GameStop, the biggest seller of used games in the U.S. Continue reading Retail Giant Walmart to Offer Store Credit for Used Video Games

Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

The long-rumored Amazon set-top box, an expected rival to Roku and Apple TV, is reportedly going to be produced by Lab126 and take the form of a dongle or stick similar to Google’s Chromecast. Amazon’s device could also compete with game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, as it is expected to support streaming for full PC game titles. Streaming games could provide Amazon with a competitive advantage over rivals in the STB space and, if bundled as an Amazon Prime member benefit, could help justify its subscription cost increase. Continue reading Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, a collection of tech companies and organizations announced the formation of the non-profit Immersive Technology Alliance (formerly S3DGA), which plans to develop games involving augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D and gesture controls. Members include Avegant, Big Blue Bubble, Electronic Arts, Epson, GameFace Labs, Technical Illusions and others. Earlier reports that Oculus VR is involved in the consortium turned out to be inaccurate. Continue reading Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

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